John Carpenter is an iconic Hollywood director, most famous for Halloween and other horror movies. His career has had more ups and downs than Dolly Parton's tits would if she ran the New York marathon.
Conventional sources state that John Carpenter was born in Carthage, New York in 1948. However, those who are well-informed know that he was actually born in the apocalyptic 56th century. What was so terrible about future Johnny's world, you ask? Nuclear fallout? Alien invasion? KanyeWestBot interrupting everything?
No, simple(ton) Cracked reader. The problem was that this never happened:
Little Johnny Carpenter could not bear to live in such a world. So he rented a time machine from McWalBucks and traveled back to the the era when Roddy Piper roamed the earth.
John Carpenter attended USC where he became friends with writer Dan O'Bannon. He and O'Bannon would go on to make the movie Dark Star, about some isolated scientists on a ship in deep space who get terrorized by an alien.
O'Bannon would later write the screenplay for Alien. Carpenter would later write and direct The Thing. Both of these movies are virtually identical, particularly in the aspect of being holy-shit-balls-awesome.
And speaking of influences, this is Adrienne Barbeau, the woman he went home to every night from 1979 to 1984:
Most guys would drink light beer to keep this woman interested. John Carpenter had to make badass movies.
As stated above, Carpenter is most famous for directing Halloween in 1978. Although a pretty scary movie at the time, watching it now is somewhat akin to watching paint dry. Or, like watching paint stalk and murder some other paint. With Donald Pleasance.
You don't even get to see Jamie's Jack-o-Lanterns.
Nonetheless, Halloween remains a classic slasher film the likes of which had rarely been seen. Films like Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street would follow in its creepy, lurking, silent footsteps. According to IMDb, the role of Dr. Loomis was offered to Christopher Lee, who turned it down but later said that doing so was the biggest mistake of his career. We're guessing starring opposite Hayden Christensen was a close second.
And guess what? We now only have:
How did people live before this scene? Seriously, it must have been the dark ages.
In 1980, Carpenter would direct The Fog, a movie starring Adrienne Barbeau's lovely tits. It also featured ninja ghost pirates. What could go wrong? Oh right, nothing fucking happens again.
Then, in 1981, Carpenter made Escape From New York. This movie has it all - a surly protagonist with no depth perception, the bad guy from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, Isaac Hayes, and even more Barbeau bosoms! Carpenter is really getting his shit together now. This guy's topic pretty much explains why Escape From New York is fucking sweet.
In 1982 Carpenter released possibly his greatest film, The Thing. No, it was not a documentary about his wang. It was a remake of the movie The Thing From Another World, which itself was based on the short story "Who Goes There?" It had great acting. It was tense. It was gory. It was
basically the movie Alien original. It was also a box office flop. According to Carpenter's IMDb profile, he took the financial failure of The Thing harder than any of his other films that also failed financially, which is like, all of them. Fortunately, the film is now listed on the IMDb Top 250. I guess people in 1982 just didn't appreciate disembodied alien crab heads.
Was everyone gay back then? I guess not because they made babies but WTF?
Click here for more information on why The Thing is a rite of passage for all man's men. And guess what? It's only:
At some point Carpenter shat out Starman and Christine during this decade, but they are hardly worth mentioning. If you wanna see a movie about an evil car, or a movie starring The Dude sans drugs, then watch them. I won't tell anyone that I think you're gay, but I may suspect it.
Finally, Carpenter's mission to create the greatest fight scene the world had ever witnessed was reaching critical mass, and it would soon explode like a billion tin-foil wrapped iguanas in the universe's biggest microwave. The first iguana to pop magnificently, heralding the coming of the iguanacaust, was Big Trouble in Little China.
Big Trouble was a masterful combination of the "horror," "comedy," "Kung Fu," and "Kurt Russell" genres.
Pictured: Wretches unworthy of Kurt Russell's presence, Kurt Russell
The plot of Big Trouble in Little China essentially revolves around a kidnapping by Chinese triads who turn out to be - ah fuck it, just look at this pie chart. It summarizes the movie's story completely:
Big Trouble in Little China had it all - except for a decent box office gross. According to Kurt Russell's DVD commentary, this was due to the producers advertising the movie about as much as you'd advertise the fact that you have genital herpes. The result of this crime against cinemanity was that John Carpenter left the studios and went indie. For more on Big T in Little C, check this dude's topic page.
Here's John Carpenter's band, The Coupe De Villes, doing the theme to Big Trouble in Little China (Carpenter is the lead vocals):
Next Carpenter released Prince of Darkness. It concerns the president from Escape From New York and Egg Shen from Big Trouble in Little China having to deal with whiny graduate students. Oh, and Satan. It is most notable for its portrayal of Alice Cooper as a mindless homicidal box hobo who murders a guy with a bicycle seat.
You know where we're at now, don't you? That's right, it's:
I think I just spooged a little bit.
Carpenter, unbound by the mediocrity of Hollywood movie studios, was finally able to create a film 3,600 years in the making. They Live made waves in the consciousness of every human being like the fattest kid in the world trundling himself into the kiddie pool. I can only imagine that everyone woke up the next day and wondered what the fuck just happened. Was Christ reborn? Did aliens beam the truth of the cosmos into our infantile ape brains? Or was it thousands of years of human culture reaching its zenith with one six minute fight scene? (hint: it's the last one)
There isn't really much you can do to improve They Live. It's got humor, it's got punching, it's got a larger social commentary, some more punching, actually a lot of punching and then guns! And right at the very end tits! I think only adding a dash of Barbeau into the mix could have made it truly perfect.
Every time you fap to this image, a baby eagle learns to fly.
Carpenter's first non-indie film after Big Trouble in Little China was Memoirs of an Invisible Man. It was about Chevy Chase becoming invisible. Despite the fact that Chase remained unseen for most of the movie, it was still a disappointment.
Then came In The Mouth of Madness (lol I said "came in the mouth"). If you want to see Sam Neill lose his shit so hard that he puts on a diaper, then this is the film for you. It's got all the things a good Carpenter film has - people going psychotic, Lovecraftian apocalyptia, and some of the most pants-wettingly terrifying cheap scares you'll ever see. If you're a fan of either horror or Carpenter, then this film is a must-see.
It even has that guy who was in that one movie and that other movie.
This decade also saw Village of the Damned, a remake of an earlier film about little soulless albinos (no, not Canadians) who control a sleepy little town with their minds, including Christopher Reeve. Consider that... Even Superman could not resist them.
Batman probably could though
In 1998 we have John Carpenter's Vampires. It's a pretty hard movie to dislike given its vast amounts of blood, titties and bloody titties.
Then the swift turnaround...
In 2001 John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars was ejected from the bowels of John Carpenter's hatred for our primitive era.
Ghosts of Mars on Blu-Ray is like a severely
retarded kid's hip-hop album on Dolby Digital.
The premise seems good enough: Disembodied alien souls making grotesque zombies out of miners, who are then slaughtered by Ice Cube and Jason Statham? Sounds good so far, except...
Natasha Henstridge, and she doesn't show tits?
Isn't this entire set like one room?
What happened to the rad creepy classic Carpenter tracks? Must we listen to butt metal?
And last but not least, was this dialogue actually written by The Master of Horror? It sounds more like they just told Ice Cube this shit was really happening and then they captured his actual reactions on film, a la The Schwarzenegger Conspiracy
Just look at this scene:
Just take a look at the actor's expressions when they realize that Ice Cube is going to improvise something really, really violent. I can only hope that those extras families were compensated by Mr. Carpenter (or his doppleganger, as I'll get to in a moment) after they became the victims of Ice Cube's wrath.
So what happened? Why did Carpenter films take such a swift downturn?
The only possible conclusion, dear reader, is that Carpenter returned to the future sometime after he fulfilled his mission to create They Live. Why wouldn't he? Back home, he probably has a laser penis and a harem cloned from Adrienne Barbeau (presumably, he ensured that the real Adrienne would be preserved in tree sap before he left for his own time).
You will fap to Barbeau in sap. Admit it.
In his place, Carpenter undoubtedly left a sophisticated android who was programmed merely to repeat the 80s. The android re-made "the sci-fi romance" (i.e. Starman as Memoirs of an Invisible Man), the "Lovecraftian horror mindfuck" (i.e. Prince of Darkness as In the Mouth of Madness), and "the dystopic action film" (i.e. Escape From New York as Escape From L.A.). Around this time the android must have busted a servo or installed a bad copy of Windows 5600 AD or something because then it tried to remake the "buddy film about dudes who fight aliens" but it blew it. For one thing, one of the buddies is a chick, and everyone knows girls don't understand how to fight aliens.
For another, the cheesily lovable lines like "Brother, life's a bitch, and she's back in heat" became shit like "DIE YOU MINDLESS MOTHERFUCKERS." Tongue in cheek became tongue blocking airway.
Still, on those nights when I lie awake at night and wonder what happened to the good old Carpenter days (which is like every night, and every day, and every waking moment actually), I stop and think that somewhere - in some far future time - a director is making a movie where a clone of Rowdy Roddy has a brawl with Robo Keith David, and I shed a little tear of joy.